I’m all about low-tech for kids, focusing on natural, hands-on play over screen time. However, I’m not naive about the technology-driven world my children are growing up into. As they mature, technology will play a larger role in their day to day lives.
This is a sponsored post.
I’ve already been thinking about how and where and when and why. So when LifeLock asked me to share about their free, online tool, The Smart Talk, I realized this was the perfect opportunity to educate myself about how to talk to kids about technology.
Why it’s important to talk to kids about technology
For me, the technology talk is rather like the awkward “birds and bees” talk is for some parents: preferably avoided at all costs! I’d much rather talk about our natural human development than what goes on behind the screens on the Internet. Where do I start? What should I cover at this tender age of six and four? It feels like I’ll ruin their innocence by telling them of all the dangers of the Internet…
But I’m well aware of the dangers of our digital world, and I am not going to let my children walk in unprepared. It only takes a single instance for a child’s identity to potentially be compromised. And with the majority of children having access to technology at young ages, that’s a lot of instances just waiting to happen!
Did you know, 74% of children have access to laptops and desktops, with the majority of tech access happening as early as 6 years old(2)?
National PTA and LifeLock created The Smart Talk (launched Sept 2015) as a free, online tool to help families set ground rules for technology use and have open, ongoing conversations about online safety and responsibility.
How to talk to kids about technology
As their parents, we’re responsible for preparing our children to navigate life in a digital world. I browsed through the interactive experience at The Smart Talk’s website, and was pleased to find many ideas and resources I can start using right now.
Through an online guided conversation, parents can talk to their kids about:
- Online safety
- Screen time
- Apps downloads
- Texting and calling
- Social media and respect
May I add… Plagiarism and copyright infringement is also a worthwhile discussion and one I hope is added to the mix.
Throughout the conversation on The Smart Talk, kids and parents can fill in a beautifully developed online form, checking boxes and setting limits. Discussion question in each section has a Bonus Talk section to offer children the chance to explore deeper concepts in their own words.
The tool then creates a printable contract for accountability.
Here’s a fun fact: While 79% of families have technology agreements with their children, only 6% of those are written agreements, which tend to have a higher success rate than verbal ones(2).
I’m really excited about using The Smart Talk with my six year old – there really isn’t a “right” age to start talking about online safety and privacy, as kids are online these days from their ultrasound pictures on up!
What’s important for me, as a low-tech parent, is that as our kids transition into the digital world, we build good digital habits to keep them safe online and teach them responsibility. The Smart Talk will help me begin a family conversation about online behavior, and now an ever-changing world, it’s a conversation that will be ongoing as the kids and technology grows.
How will you begin that conversation as you talk to kids about technology? Check out The Smart Talk for great questions that make kids really think about and adhere to your family rules about internet safety!
2Commissioned study conducted by ResearchNow on behalf of LifeLock, adults 18 and older were surveyed online between July 20-24, 2015
This post was sponsored by LifeLock, and I was given a complimentary LifeLock Membership in exchange for sharing this message. All opinions are my own.